9 May 2012

Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg (1916-2012)

Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg, who was born at Stockholm on 31 October 1916 as the youngest son of the then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Crown Princess Margaret, née Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, died at Ängelholm Hospital, Båstad on Saturday 5 May 2012 at 9 p.m. Carl Johan was the last surviving great-grandchild of the British Queen Victoria.

The Swedish Royal Court issued a statement on Sunday 6 May 2012, in which the former Prince of Sweden was described as "a dear and beloved family member who had meant a lot to the whole family through his friendliness and humour". Carl Johan was going to be remembered as "a respected and amiable relative". His great knowledge of the family history was also pointed out.

Carl Johan, a nephew of King Carl XVI Gustaf, lost his titles Prince of Sweden and Duke of Dalarna when he married the Swedish commoner Kerstin Wijkmark, b. 4 March 1910, in 1946. The couple, who lived abroad, among others in London, for most parts of their married life, had two adopted children, Monica, b. 1948, and Christian, b. 1949. Carl Johan worked as a business man, while his wife contineud her career in journalism. Carl Johan Bernadotte received in 1951 the title Count of Wisborg by Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.

Kerstin died in 1987 and Count Carl Johan married 2ndly the year after Countess Gunnila Wachtmeister af Johannishus, b. 1923, who survives him.

The funeral service will take place at Mariakyrkan (St. Mary's Church) in Båstad on Monday 14 May at 11 a.m. The Swedish Royal Court has announced that King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philip will all attend the funeral. Princess Madeleine lives in the USA and will not travel home for the funeral. The Danish Royal House will according to Billed-Bladet be represented by Queen Margrethe II and Princess Benedikte, nieces of the late count. As of now it seems that no members of the Norwegian Royal Family will attend the funeral, but the calendar at the official website might not have been updated.

Following the funeral service in Båstad the casket will be brought to the Palace Church in Stockholm where a memorial service is planned for Tuesday 15 May. King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philip will all be present. Later Count Carl Johan's body will be interred at the Royal Burial Ground at Haga Park outside Stockholm, where also his parents as well as Queen Louise, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg, Prince Carl "Mulle" Bernadotte and his brothers Gustaf Adolf, Bertil and Sigvard are buried. Princess Sibylla is also buried there. Carl Johan's wife Gunilla is also expected to be buried at Haga, cf. the national newspaper Expressen.se. Carl Johan's first wife Kerstin is buried at Båstads Nya Kyrkogård (Båstad New Cemetery).

Some articles and obituaries:
Much can be said about the lack of accuracy in the obituaries published in the foreign press. I will limit myself to point out that Carl Johan didn't renounce his succession rights to the Swedish throne, as the succession law automatically excluded him when he married "a Swedish private man's daughter". The strict rules concerning marriages to Swedish commoners were repealed in 1980.

Updated on Friday 11 May 2012 at 11.00 (language + information about the church in Stockholm corrected, cf. the comments field), Friday 11 May 2012 at 16.10 (information about Haga graves added).



  1. Speaking of accuracy:

    "Princess Madeleine lives in the USA and will travel home for the funeral" - here I suppose you have omitted the word "not".

    "Following the funeral service in Båstad the casket will be brought to Storkyrkan (officially named Sankt Nikolai kyrka/St. Nicholas Church) in Stockholm were a memorial service is planned for Tuesday 15 May" - the memorial service will take place in the Palace Church, not in the Cathedral.

  2. Thanks, I have corrected the mistakes. I could swear that the Expressen article referred to Storkyrkan, but as the article doesn't seem to have been altered, I guess I didn't read it properly.


  3. I have seen neither Expressen nor any other newspaper mentioning the Cathedral, which would have been a very surprising choice for such a rather low-key event.

    The last royal funeral to be held there was that of King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973. Even the funeral of Prince Bertil took place in the Palace Church instead of in the Cathedral (for Sigvard Bernadotte there was a lying-in-state in the Palace Church, but the funeral was held in the Engelbrekt Church).

    It could, by the way, be added that Bertil and Sigvard are not the only two of Carl Johan's brothers who are buried at Haga. Prince Gustaf Adolf is also buried there, so it will now be the final resting place of all the sons of Gustaf VI Adolf.

  4. I made a link to the Expressen article in my blog article and believe I have explained the mistake well enough.

    When I mentioned others who are buried at Haga, my intention was to give just a few examples, but I guess it seems strange to leave out Gustaf Adolf and Sibilla, so they have now been added. Thanks for pointing it out.


  5. Yes, it seemed a bit strange to mention two out of three brothers, particularly when it was the dynastically most important brother who was left out.